Oh Snap! Don’t Let a Frozen Pipe Ruin Your Winter

Learn how to avoid frozen pipes with the D&F Plumbing experts in Vancouver WA!

Learn how to avoid frozen pipes with the D&F Plumbing experts in Vancouver WA!A frozen or burst pipe can really throw a wrench in your winter plans. The last thing you want is to be patching leaks over the holidays or redirecting a waterfall on New Year’s. But, as temperatures drop, your plumbing system could freeze or crack, leading to some serious and potentially costly problems.

So, as winter sets in, it’s time to get snappy and protect your plumbing! Here are some tips for keeping your pipes in good shape through freezing temperatures this winter:

  • Wrap pipes with insulating materials. Wrapping any exposed pipes in insulating materials, such as heating tape or mineral wool, is a great way to protect them from the cold. That way, they won’t freeze over and risk cracking and leaking.
  • Seal leaks around your home. A lot of homes have some drafty areas. But, if your home has a lot of cold air blowing near your plumbing system, it could become an issue. Sealing off any air leaks around dryer vents, pipes, or electrical wiring can keep your pipes from freezing.
  • Shut off and drain water from outdoor plumbing. Your outdoor pipes are most at risk of freezing and breaking. Since most of us don’t use our outdoor spigots during winter, it’s usually best to shut off water to your outdoor plumbing when cold weather hits. We also recommend draining the pipes and storing your garden hoses indoors.
  • Keep your thermostat the same temperature day and night. A lot of people are in the habit of shutting off their thermostat for the night – after all, you’ll be cozy and wrapped in blankets anyway! But, temperatures are lowest at night, and a particularly cold night is all it would take to freeze your pipes.
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks and near exterior walls. The heat inside of your home can seep into your exterior walls, keeping your pipes nice and toasty. Opening up cabinet doors near exterior walls can facilitate the transfer of warmth from your home to your plumbing system.
  • Keep garage doors closed as much as possible. The more you keep your garage doors open, the colder your home – and plumbing system – can become. Keeping your garage doors closed can protect the pipes near that part of your house.
  • Thaw frozen pipes with warm water or hair dryers. If worse comes to worst and you notice a pipe is frozen solid, you’ll want to thaw it out quickly. Warm water or the heat from a hairdryer will likely do the trick. It’s important to remember that this should only be used as a last-resort tactic, and you should never use an open flame to thaw out a frozen pipe.
  • Call for help immediately if you run into problems. If you wake up to a burst pipe or a flooded basement, it’s important to call for immediate help. An experienced plumber can help fix the leak quickly and efficiently while providing some guidance on how to prevent future plumbing problems.

Dependable Plumbers in the Pacific Northwest

Winter plumbing problems can be intimidating, not to mention costly without the right attention. However, you’re not alone! The expert technicians at D & F Plumbing in Vancouver WA and Portland OR are committed to helping you keep your plumbing system in great condition. Whether you are facing broken pipes or just want help with winterizing your plumbing, we’ve got you covered! Just give us a call today to get started!

Spring Plumbing Tips

Man cleaning the kitchen sink. D & F Plumbing serving Portland OR and Vancouver WA talks about spring plumbing tips.

Man cleaning the kitchen sink. D & F Plumbing serving Portland OR and Vancouver WA talks about spring plumbing tips.With spring right around the corner, many homeowners will be decluttering and starting fresh by checking off their spring cleaning to-do lists. Make sure plumbing is a priority on your list with these helpful tips from D & F Plumbing.

Check Your Water Heater

Drain at least 2 to 3 gallons of water from your water heater to flush out sediment. Sediment can create blockages, reducing your unit’s efficiency and shortening its lifespan.

  • Ensure your water heater is set to 120°F to reduce energy, help prolong your water heater’s lifespan, and help prevent scalding.
  • Inspect your unit for leaks and corrosion, looking for rust or puddles
  • If your water heater is older than 15 years old, you may want to consider replacing it for a newer, energy-efficient model. Generally, water heaters last around 10 years.

Check Other Appliances

  • Inspect your refrigerator, washing machine, and dishwasher for water leaks or bulging hoses. Replace any hoses that are bulging, leaking or are over 10 years old. Consider installing stainless steel hoses. They are more durable as they don’t burst as easily as other types of appliance hoses.
  • If your washing machine has a lint trap, clean it out to help prevent blockages.
  • If your kitchen sink has a garbage disposal, you can grind ice cubes to help sharpen the blades and help clear away any waste buildup. You can also grind lemon or orange peels to provide a fresh scent.

Inspect Indoor Plumbing Fixtures

  • Pour a gallon of water down infrequently used drains to fill the p-trap and help prevent any odors.
  • Look underneath all of your sinks and make sure there are no signs of leaks
  • Test your toilet for leaks. One quick and easy way to test your toilet for leaks is by adding food coloring into your tank. If the water in the toilet bowl turns that color within about 30 minutes, you have a leak.

Check Outdoor Faucets

  • Remove your outdoor faucet caps and turn on the faucets, if you notice water leaking in your home, your pipes may have frozen and burst over winter and need to be replaced.
  • Remove any debris from plumbing vent pipes.

Cleanout Gutters & Downspouts

  • Inspect your gutters and downspouts and remove debris and animal nests from them. Blocked gutters can lead to standing water (which can attract pests), soil erosion, and flooding. Blocked gutters can also affect the integrity of your roofing.
  • Make sure your yard drains are also clean and free of debris.

If you don’t feel comfortable performing any of these or you’ve discovered you need to repair or replace a plumbing fixture, contact us. We’re your local source for all of your plumbing needs. We’ll diagnose the problem and offer you solutions that work with your needs and your budget.